Official Magazine of the Denver Bar Association

What (Is It) About Bob?

More than 150 people gathered at the University Club on Oct. 29 to reminisce, roast and toast Robert (Bob) J. Kapelke at the annual DBA Seniors Committee Roast. When guests were asked why there were so many in attendance and what it is exactly about Bob that drew them all there, the standard answer was: “Well, everyone knows Bob.”

Kapelke received his J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law and Master of Comparative Law degree from the University of Chicago School of Law. During his years of practice, Kapelke focused on commercial litigation, including oil and gas, antitrust, real estate, corporate, securities, and contract disputes. He was appointed as a Judge to the Colorado Court of Appeals in 1994, where he served for more than ten years before retiring in 2005. He continues to serve as a senior judge on the court on a part-time basis, and is a mediator and arbitrator with Judicial Arbiter Group, Inc. Past awards run the gamut from the Colorado Bar Association’s highest honor, the Award of Merit, to the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Law Club of Denver.

While his career and the many illustrious awards on his mantle do make a statement, it must be mentioned that Kapelke is known for more than just his professional bio. It is his clever use of lexicon, humor, and musical talent that really make Kapelke a stand out in the Denver legal community. His contributions to Law Club shows and “Burden of Spoof” performances (Kapelke is the founding member and producer), are prime examples of why he maintains his celebrity status in this jurisdiction.

Guests at the roast were treated to a jab-filled speech by DBA Executive Director Chuck Turner, followed by a collaborative musical performance and narrative of Kapelke’s life led by fellow Burden of Spoof performers Josiah Hatch and Brenda Taylor. Cameos were also made by David Atkinson, Diana Terry, and Fred Rodgers.“Spoof” is a musical troupe comprised of Denver area judges and attorneys who have been performing satirical music revues on current affairs since 1993. One of their greatest hits includes The Perils of Packer, a musical rendition of the 1883 trial of Colorado’s notorious cannibal Alferd Packer. Other equally racy topics covered by the group include Colorado’s Amendment 64 legalizing marijuana, Lance Armstrong’s “confession,” the tragic demise of the Twinkie, and of course, the love fest between Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un.

DBA Seniors Chair Leonard Plank was the one who put Kapelke up for the roast. The two have known each other on a professional and personal level for more than 35 years. When questioned about the motive behind the nomination, Plank mused about the Kapelke known outside the court room — a common theme when people are asked what ( it is) about Bob.

“It’s his personality, his willingness to do so much for others. He is well liked, very smart, very intelligent, and very quick witted,” Plank said.

He told a story in which one evening, while the two were out together, it was mentioned by an associate that a true gentleman is a man who knows how to play an accordion, but doesn’t. The following morning when Plank went to pick up Kapelke, there he was, on his front lawn playing an accordion.

Play on Bob, play on. 


By Alexa Drago

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